A three-dimensional work of art. Many people think that only objects made of stone, wood, or bronze are sculptures, but the term applies to any three-dimensional object that is an artwork.

Twentieth-century artists have shown us that any object and any type of material can become a scupture. So classifying sculptures by the material used has become an impossible task. Instead, sculptures are usually categorized by the process used to create them. The four categories are:

Carving – Cutting away material from an existing piece of material, such as wood, stone, ivory, etc.

Modeling – Shaping of a pliable material, such as clay, plaster, wax, etc.

Casting – Using a mold to shape a molten substance, such as bronze, plastic, etc.

Assembling – Creating a sculpture by connecting or unifying in some way objects of various materials. A sculpture created with found objects is referred to with the French term assemblage.

Certain types of "sculpture" defy easy categorization, such as earthworks, kinetic sculpture, and conceptual art.

Sculp"ture (?; 135), n. [L. sculptura: cf. F. sculpture.]


The art of carving, cutting, or hewing wood, stone, metal, etc., into statues, ornaments, etc., or into figures, as of men, or other things; hence, the art of producing figures and groups, whether in plastic or hard materials.


Carved work modeled of, or cut upon, wood, stone, metal, etc.

There, too, in living sculpture, might be seen The mad affection of the Cretan queen. Dryden.


© Webster 1913.

Sculp"ture (?; 135), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Sculptured (); p. pr. & vb. n. Sculpturing.]

To form with the chisel on, in, or from, wood, stone, or metal; to carve; to engrave.

Sculptured tortoise Zool., a common North American wood tortoise (Glyptemys insculpta). The shell is marked with strong grooving and ridges which resemble sculptured figures.


© Webster 1913.

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